Priding itself as the giant of Africa for its large size and teeming population, Nigeria will hold her Presidential election on Saturday, 16th February, 2019. With a track record of institutionalized corruption, governing a country like Nigeria is undoubtedly a complex task. But it would seem that for a task as complex as ensuring the safety and prosperity of over 190 million persons, Nigerians often choose the least qualified candidates. Hence, in spite of periodic elections, the fortunes of this West African giant is yet to change. In fact, with the World Poverty Clock’s recent report that 91 million Nigerians now live in extreme poverty, it seems that the country’s fortunes are dwindling.
…it would seem that for a task as complex as ensuring the safety and prosperity of over 190 million persons, Nigerians often choose the least qualified candidates.
Elections which should be turning points that usher in comptent, ethical and novel leadership, have unfortunately been periods of recycling old leadership in various shades and forms. The two front runners of the presidential election– Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar- have both been involved in high level politics in Nigeria at different times. It might be interesting to note that until December 3, 2017 when Atiku cross-carpeted to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he was a member of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC). Little wonder Fela Durotoye, a presidential candidate, described both parties as being “one party, two names”.
Besides Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, there are 71 other candidates who will be vying for the highest political office in Nigeria on Saturday. Some of these other candidates are young, competent and have the experience that Nigeria needs to tackle her developmental and structural challenges. It is however unfortunate that most Nigerians do not currently see beyond Atiku and Buhari.
Nigeria does not need any degree of ‘evil’ to succeed at nation building. What is needed are competent and ethical leaders who have the best interest of Nigeria at heart.
The Lesser of Two Evils
It is not uncommon to hear Nigerians say : « I will vote for the lesser of the two ‘evils’ ». It is almost like they are saying « I know that none of these candidates have the best interest of Nigerian citizens at heart but I will vote for them anyway». Nigeria does not need any degree of ‘evil’ to succeed at nation building. What is needed are competent and ethical leaders who have the best interest of Nigeria at heart. Until Nigerians fully realize this and make wiser choices, elections will not guarantee the progressive change that Nigeria so desperately needs.
Though the 2011 and 2015 elections were marked with significant levels of violence and unfortunate deaths, I hope that the imminent electoral exercise will not lead to lead to the loss of more Nigerian lives and properties. As Nigerians go to the poll on 16th February, I hope all eligible voters get involved in the exercise because bad and corrupt leaders are chosen by good people who refuse to exercise their right to vote. I hope that they vote with the future of Nigeria in mind and most importantly, I hope this election will not produce the same result as previous elections.
Source Photo: Telegraph